One year ago this morning, William Stover was looking up at the Sears Tower with the rest of the downtown evacuees, wondering which building would be the next to be hit by hijacked aircraft. He felt sure he knew what was coming next, because he'd been involved in an eerily similar incident more than 30 years ago. What he didn't know was that both he and his wife were about to have heart attacks.
Hospitals, at least in New York, saw an increase in heart attack complaints in the weeks following Sept. 11. More than 250 people (including Regis Philbin) showed up for free heart attack risk screenings by Columbia University in Manhattan shortly after the terrorist attacks, as the whole nation was placed on the sort of stress watch usually reserved for hurricane sites.
Or so a flood of media reports suggested in the following months. Just what the effects were in places more distantly removed from the crisis--like Oak Park--were much harder to measure.
But not so hard to measure for William Stover, whose stress-related illnesses might have proved fatal were it not for the intervention of the Oak Park Fire Department